While tensions remain high between the Nawaz government and the country’s military over the slow-moving treason trial against him, Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf has flown to Karachi for an unspecified period of time. Allegedly, it was due to issues concerning Mr Musharraf’s health that kept him from making much smaller trips from his farmhouse in Chak Shehzad to the courts in the capital. Now, the same concerns have prompted him to travel all the way to Karachi. Here, the former President hopes to benefit from the expertise of the competent doctors practicing at the Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Shifa hospital.

In Karachi, Mr Musharraf finds himself in the city with the highest number of sympathizers than perhaps any other part of Pakistan. The city’s biggest political party, the MQM, has maintained an excellent relationship with Mr Musharraf since his days in power, and has displayed its friendship by taking a clear stand against the treason trial. If the former dictator wishes to see his fantasy come true, that of thousands of passionate supporters gathered at his doorstep chanting slogans in his favour, Karachi is just the place for him. The MQM can deliver for him what his own political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), is hopelessly incapable of.

Another factor that makes Karachi different from Islamabad for Musharraf is the absence of Nawaz Sharif’s direct control, which is replaced by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Sindh government. Furthermore, the city has a heavy presence of Rangers, a paramilitary force. It is this very force that will be most heavily relied upon to provide security to Mr Musharraf, and to ensure that he stays comfortable, and most importantly, put. As the courts summon him again in the future, the reality of the situation will unfold before all to witness.